Letter to the Editor: Expanding Food Availability

by Scott Lloyd | 5/17/18 2:20am

Every moviegoer intuitively understands why movie theaters charge high concession snack prices: because they can.

By limiting food availability (i.e. not allowing outside food), theaters charge whatever price maximizes profit. The exploitation of consumers via monopoly is the current relationship between Dartmouth Dining Services (DDS) and Dartmouth students, minus the featured motion pictures.

With the lack of easily accessible alternative food options and mandatory meal plans, DDS, a private company, charges extraordinarily high prices for relatively inexpensive goods, such as $6.00 mango cups, $2.95 avocados and $2.00 snack bags of carrot sticks. For these prices at Shaw’s, you can buy 12 mangos (Cinco de Mayo sale), three avocados and a whole bag of carrots.

This results in high DBA debt, poor nutritional choices, skipped meals and low student satisfaction. The Dartmouth Editorial Board wrote about the deficiencies in the Dartmouth dining system this past fall in the article “Verbum Ultimum: Eat Free or Die,” suggesting that students need a food provider that is “more cost-effective, less interested in gouging prices and more amenable to competition.”

The College and student body must address the limitations in the campus dining system by expanding food availability. A great step would be the introduction of an alternative food provider. Colleges across the country have addressed high-priced dining concerns by opening student-run groceries to allow access to healthy and affordable food. Such an initiative at Dartmouth could not only potentially lower DDS prices, but also increase students’ autonomy over their eating and food choices.

— Scott Lloyd

Lloyd is a member of the Class of 2019.

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